Lots of excellent Time-Travel stories on this site; decided to try my hand in one of my own. Starting point is a dystopian future where the aftermath of two civil wars in magical Britain is not all roses and rainbows as per canon - one of the less believable points in the original books in my opinion. Magic in this story is going to be mostly canon-compliant and heavily used. Last major point is that the story is going to have more than one 'Harry' and will try for realistic challenges and obstacles for our protagonist - not that she's going to have an easy day of it! First chapter is up, second chapter will be tommorow or later today - enjoy!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. I am not JK Rowling. This story is free and written for my and your enjoyment only. Anyone who checks the abysmal balance of my bank account should see that clearly. :)
It was supposed to have been an easy arrest. Things turned a bit more interesting when the Anti-Disapparition Jinx went up.
The Head Auror, excited trainees in tow, had arrived in the abandoned industrial zone a few minutes ago via Apparition. Not only was a milk run an excellent opportunity for some hands-on training, but the series of crumbling brick warehouses, rusting metal towers, the overgrown scrapyard and piles of rubble that used to be industrial buildings half a century ago were a perfect location for a bunch of overeager Defense prodigies less than a year out of Hogwarts to cut loose without worrying about civilian or even muggle casualties. All of that had changed when a familiar dome of subtle but strong magic had fallen over the area.
"What are we gonna do, Boss?" Mandy Bones asked, brown eyes gleaming with suppressed excitement, worry, and a bit of magic. Unlike their instructor who, like Dumbledore before her, had mastered that particular magic after repeated use, the trainees still needed both wand and incantation for the Magic-Revealing Charm. Fortunately, their training demanded they cast it before every session and trying to keep it up for the duration. That was what had Mandy worried; she, too had seen and recognized the effect.
"You are going to stay behind me and do your best to defend yourselves. You need several wizards - or someone exceptionally powerful - to prevent Apparition in that large an area and you are still trainees: you are not to engage them directly unless you absolutely have to." With a flick of her wand she cast the Presence-Revealing Charm. Unlike Dumbledore she'd not yet fully mastered it but it was still extremely useful. Disguises, Transfiguration, secrecy charms, glamours, invisibility, physical cover; none of them would prevent it from showing her where the welcoming committe was hiding, not even her own fabled Cloak. What she didn't expect was over a dozen individuals slowly moving in place to surround them. "Oh and Mandy?"
"Yes, Boss?" Asked the senior trainee.
"Remind me to kill Mundungus Fletcher when we get out of this." She flicked her wand repeatedly and whispered. The incantations were not strictly necessary but it would tell the trainees what she was doing if they were paying attention. This was, after all, still a lesson.
Prohibeo Apparitum! Prohibeo Volatum! Prohibeo Focum! Prohibeo Portum!
A wider and stronger dome appeared over the one the criminals had erected in her augmented senses. The wizards and witches moving to surround them did not react; they must not have been using any revealing spells. Idiots. Constant vigilance was the most important part of both Auror and criminal business and ensured you wouldn't find yourself suddenly unable to apparate, fly through most means, make use of a fireplace for either making food or accessing the Floo network, and traveling via Portkey, while your enemies had you where they wanted.
Five of the approaching witches and wizards revealed themselves to draw the eye, while the remaining eight approached under cover from the opposite direction. The criminals were all dressed in concealing robes and hoods - black of course - and wore face-concealing masks. She had no idea if it was intentional, but the getup brought up memories of over twenty years ago. The taller figure in the middle - obviously their leader - spoke up as he threateningly brandished his wand, a modified Sonorus Charm blanketing the area with a voice turned unnaturally deep and harsh.
"Why, if it isn't Iris Potter. The Ministry's biggest and baddest mad dog." His companions laughed; she only sighed. Much as she'd like to get this over with, she had to engage in an exchange of so-called witticisms until the rest of the criminals made an appearance so she'd have a reason to arrest them. Besides, grandstanding was a time-honored tradition as Ron always reminded her.
"Are you sure you want to do this, gentlemen? After all, it's only five against one; a bit unfair for you, don't you think?"
"What, the little trainee dogs won't be joining us?" More laughter. She grabbed Finnigan's wand arm before the lad could do something stupid, pushed him back towards the others, then nodded at Mandy. The youngest Bones knew enough to keep the other trainees out of trouble but just in case... A flick of her wand turned a pile of debris into a red-hot liquid flowing into a dome over her charges. Magically cooled into six inches of crude glass, it then briefly flashed several different colors before settling into a faintly glowing green. An inanimate object could block many curses since they only worked against the living - Unforgivables included. Spell it to prevent from being moved, reshaped, or its nature from being altered, and you had a near-perfect barrier. Despite two decades of experimentation though, she'd still not managed to make the shield permeable based on intent, or to replenish its physical anchor on command.
"No, they won't. You only get me; can the five of you handle me, big guy?" She hoped the dome was too thick for sound to go through and that none of the trainees had thought to cast a Supersensory Charm; she'd never live this down if word got back to Ron and the other senior Aurors.
"Oh, I believe we'll manage." The leader made a complicated gesture - obviously a signal of some sort - and all Hell broke loose.
Thirteen voices cast the curse in unison, from several directions at once. They were answered by a flick of her wand and dozens upon dozens of foot-wide iron spheres appearing from thin air. Back in her third year in Hogwarts, she'd seen Dumbledore conjure six hundred objects at once. Her own record still stood at slightly under two thirds of her old mentor's but they'd do - especially after she put all her will and power into her next spell and cast.
Under the direction of the Offensive Animation Jinx, the iron spheres became Bludgers. Thirteen had been disintegrated blocking her foes' careless offense but the rest launched themselves at the criminals. Some were blasted apart by blasting curses, others were vanished or transficured into harmless forms. A half-dozen single target spells wasted themselves against a single sphere each. Then the criminals' time run out. Two of them failed to pull off any useful defense in time and fell under multiple hits. Five more tried to Disapparate in the belief they were keyed into the only Anti-Disapparation Jinx covering the area: those too collapsed under the onslaught. The remaining criminals managed some credible defensive spells and everyone within a couple of miles heard the cacophony produced by dozens of iron spheres smashing into immovable barriers at speeds matching those of a racing broom.
The neon-green bolt of the Killing Curse went through several spheres, ending their conjuration as it sought to end her life. She flicked her wand and a medieval shield made of silvery metal appeared in its path. Surprise and confusion replaced gleeful expectation in the visible lower half of the enemy leader's face as his curse splashed against the shield with the sound of a giant's hammer hitting a gong.
"How..?" he shouted, cheated of an apparently easy kill.
"Tsk. Tsk. Kids playing with Dark Magic at your age." Portus! Portus! Her first whispered spell took her right behind him unhindered by his Anti-Disapparation Jinx and keyed to her own lockdown enchantments. The second broke through his shield and made him vanish before his companions' disbelieving eyes. He'd reappear in a magically fortified holding cell where Finite-traps would automatically strip him of active spells and a few whiffs of the sleeping-gas-laced air would knock him out until the duty Auror could process him.
Crucio! Avada Kedavra! Ossium Reducto! Confringo! Imperio!
Repositioning the silver shield to block the dangerous Unforgivables, she stopped the Bone-Shattering and Blasting curses with her own defensive spell and returned fire. The Imperius she let land, then ignored. Doing the 'impossible' was the best way to break enemy morale, finish the fight early, and prevent loss of life or collateral damage. One of the remaining criminals had excellent reflexes though, dodging her attempts to make his own clothes into a portkey. Sighing again, she turned her wand a full circle and put a lot of power into the spell.
Every iron sphere within thirty yards flickered out of existence. So did the criminals' Shield Charms. Unfortunately for them, a good quarter of the spheres had been beyond the range of her general counterspell and by the time they realized what she'd done, they were already going down. A few flicks of her wand later saw the remaining spheres vanish, the silver shield return to everywhere she'd retrieved it from, and the criminals' wands collected and secured. Walking back to the glowing green dome, she dismissed the enchantments and vanished it too.
"We're done here." She said to the trainees. "Tie them up and prepare them for transfer back to HQ."
"Already?" Finnigan asked, his incredulity increasing when he noticed the number of downed opponents. "Where did those come from? They were only five half a minute ago!"
Leaving it up to Mandy to correct the boy's misconceptions, she prepared for another busy evening in the office. The hardest part of apprehending criminals was the paperwork, not the fight. One only had to compare the time required - thirty seconds versus three hours was a generous estimate - to know it was true.
"Level Nine: Department of Mysteries"
Twenty-year-long campaigns to revolutionize Wizarding Britain and magical maintenance still had not changed the operator's voice for the Ministry's elevator. Maybe it was because two thirds of the ministry's employees still liked the pleasant female voice. Shaking her head, Iris got out and into the Hall of Doors. More memories of simpler, perhaps happier times surfaced. Before the defense mechanism could trigger, she flicked her wand and cast.
Revolving doors were annoying - an entire revolving room moreso. No thank you! Picking the second door on her left, she pushed it open and entered what had once been the Time Room. No bell jars with perpetually reborn birds in them were in evidence, no cabinets full of Time-Turners, to clocks and watches of every type and size ticking away the seconds, minutes, hours, and years as she remembered. The entire chamber had been reformed into a simple oval of bare rock, entirely empty of any furniture or items of any kind. The only interesting thing in it was the floor, countless lines of runes and arithmantic symbols forming a complex tapestry beyond her understanding.
"Finally!" A forty-something witch with bushy brown hair and majestic robes of royal blue said. "What took you so long? We sent the message hours ago!" The other occupants in the room shifted uncertainly at Hermione's tone. Even after three decades of friendly coexistence, the two of them could occasionally slip into rows of epic proportions due to clashing personalities - and their closest friends knew it well. The tall, gangly redhead in the crimson Auror's cloak whispered calming words with some urgency; Ron was the only one of them who could avert disaster when the two people with the most pressing and unforgiving jobs out of their little group felt like blowing off some steam. The prematurely greying blonde witch on Ron's right and Iris' nominal superior winked at her but said nothing. Susan's position as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was almost as unforgiving as her own these days - hence the grey hair - but she always had a ready smile and took on every challenge with seemingly endless patience. Out of all of them she'd changed the most since the War. The tall man in the formal robes of a Hogwarts Professor with the worn, many-patched, ancient-looking hat on his head made her do a double take. Neville had a solemn expression - as well he should, wearing the Sorting Hat outside Hogwarts! But that meant...
"Hello Iris. Fancy meeting you here tonight." The slim platinum-blonde's sudden appearance at her side almost made her jump. Even more than Ollivander, Luna Lovegood was the only witch who could turn up without Iris' senses and spells warning her.
"Luna!" She groaned in exasperation, lowering her wand. "Don't do that! I almost cursed you!"
"You wouldn't have, and didn't, so all is well." The younger witch said with a smile in her inimitable way. "Are you ready then?"
"Ready for what? Hermione did not tell me." She played for time, trying to get her thoughts in order.
"You know better than that, Iris Potter." The strange Seer said evenly. "Your best friend has done her best in the position left to her but even the smartest of us cannot hold disaster back for another seven years. You have seen the signs, have you not? Almost daily now you have to show the flag, and the intervals are growing smaller."
Iris supposed she did. Everyone expected things to get better after the War had been won - and for a time, they did. The first problems arose almost immediately though. She, Hermione, and Ron had broken into Gringotts very destructively and very publically. The goblins had never forgiven that breach of the treaty and their sovereignty and had caused the Ministry no end of trouble ever since. Then, came the trials and convictions of the old pureblood families. Revolutions were not clean things; removing over half of the old ruling class from power caused even more problems, made worse since said ruling class held the majority of Wizarding Britain's finances under their control. Added to the enmity of the goblins, and the collapse of many businesses during the War, the economic backlash had been disastrous. It took over a decade for stability to return, and by then the British Wizarding economy had taken a lot of hits.
But even bigger problems arose after things calmed down. Britain was far from the only Wizarding government that had been ruled by the old noble families. As with the muggle French Revolution over two centuries earlier, the newly rebuilt Ministry saw several pureblood-controlled foreign governments banding against it. Not openly and violently - the ICW prevented at least that much - but the political and economic pressure was bad enough. The influx of refugees made an already bad situation all but unsalvageable. Oppressed for centuries by said governments, second-class citizens such as muggleborns, werewolves, and part-humans flooded into Wizarding Britain by the thousands. Despite the hopes of many people like Hermione and Iris herself though, that was not a good thing. For one thing, the majority of those second-class citizens had never received a full education and found it hard to contribute to the country's economy. For another, requirements such as the werewolves' need for Wolfsbane potion were a drain in an economy devastated by two major conflicts in recent decades and effectively blockaded by once reliable trade partners. Last but not least, a significant minority of such refugees had had to resort to criminal activities back in their own countries, and saw no option but to continue so in their new home. Iris had had to "show the flag" as Luna called it, apprehending criminals, breaking up shady organizations, and beating would-be Dark Lords almost continuously in the past decade and a half, merely to keep the country together and the peace restored. But with every act of aggression, those parts of the population turned more and more against the Ministry - hence the trap the supposedly reliable info by Mundungus Fletcher had sent them into.
"We're ready, Iris." Hermione said tiredly, carving the last few details of the enormous runic array. The recently elected Minister of Magic did not look good; she had dark circles under her eyes, her skin was pale, even sported a few grey hair at the extremely young age of forty-three, for a witch of her power.
"Are you sure about this?" Iris asked her second oldest friend. "You told me yourself that my being forty-nine, seven times seven years old, would be our best chance to..."
"Iris, we have no time!" Hermione's composure almost broke; the whole situation had her friend near tears. "I can hold the Ministry together for another year, maybe. Do you want to fight another war? One against muggleborns and part-human immigrants this time?"
"She's right you know." Neville said as he offered the Sorting Hat to her. "Chosen ones the both of us and we'd already failed by the time we won the War."
"No, Neville." She eyed the Hat apprehensively. What they were about to do was as close to insane as any stunt she'd pulled during the War - or since. "How many galleons are you sending with me, by the way?"
"None." Luna piped in from behind her. At her gobsmacked expression, the strange Seer smiled. "Wizarding currency is marked with serial numbers, silly. You can't take them in the past or the goblins -and any wizard who knows his numbers- would know."
"We've amassed some gold and gems." Hermione said, finally calm. She pointed at the familiar seven-lock trunk at the center of the room. "Filled the entire first compartment, even with the improved Extension Charms. Liquidating the Black and Potter fortunes you weren't using, along with those of extinct families that passed to the Ministry, took a couple of years but was ready in time, thank Merlin." Finances were far from Iris' strong point but even so she had at least some idea how much wealth she'd be carrying with her.
"What about the other seven compartments?" She asked, wanting to know how much of their preparations they'd finished on short notice.
"Don't worry." Susan said. "Compartments two and three are full of anything we've confiscated over the past few years that might prove useful. The full list is included, seeing as planning and thinking ahead were never your greatest strengths." The blonde finished with another smile. She should know; she'd taken control of the DMLE after Hermione was elected Minister because Iris had absolutely refused to be promoted into a desk job.
"Compartment four is all the potions and ingredients Hagrid, Professor Slughorn, Madam Pomfrey and I could come up with." Neville interjected. "Number five contains copies of the more useful books in the Hogwarts library. Had to Confund Madam Pince daily for a month to get them."
"Number six contains the Ministry records and archives that might help. The last compartment is still empty though." Hermione finished. Then she caught Iris totally by surprise with a deep hug, one the surviving members of the DA minus Ginny soon joined. As she was given a very warm farewell by everyone, her best friend's hands gripped hers firmly and pressed something unyielding and full of hard edges into her palm. As soon as she'd picked it up, Iris felt the wand she'd been using for the past fifteen years and the family cloak in her pocket vibrate in response. "You never know what you might need where you're going." Hermione whispered in her ear. "And it would be good to no longer carry the burden I picked up in our last Occlumency lesson so many years ago."
"Are you sure about this, everyone?" Iris said as she looked them all in the eye before turning to Neville and the Sorting Hat. "We... we don't really know what will happen."
"Better you than me, mate!" Ron said with a shudder. "'Least you got some experience with this. That and I ain't the Girl-Who-Conquered; I'm a bloke."
"Colorful as always, Ron." His wife said with exasperation. "Don't listen to him, Iris. We know exactly what will happen. I got it all worked out right here." She handed on to her a massive handwritten tome full of arithmantic calculations and predicted results who luckily was under a permanent Featherlight Charm and could be resized on command. "With enough stabilizing charms and runes the Hour-Reversal Charm is perfectly safe. The Unspeakables back in 1900s only managed five-hour integrity seals because they were trying for a portable device. That, and they didn't go for over a decade of preparation for a single trip." She indicated the intricate runic patterns covering the entire floor of the room around them with a measure of satisfaction that comes from achieving a seemingly impossible goal.
Shaking her head at how little any of them had changed since their school years at their core, Iris extended her hand into the Sorting Hat. A moment later, the hard, cold, weight of metal pressed against her grip. With a practiced motion, she drew the Sword of Gryffindor; the final proof that they were on the right path, that the Sorting Hat believed their need both noble and attainable and had decided to help them. Exhaling both in relief and trepidation, she placed the Sword in the custom sheath made for it in her belt and turned towards the center of the room. There was only one thing left to do; for her to cast the Hour-Reversal Charm in the center of the room. In many ways, that still was the one thing she'd serious reservations about. Hermione had always been better at Charms; Iris' best subjects had always been Defense, closely followed by Transfiguration. But for her to travel back in time, save her older self from her destiny and avert a war, she had to cast the most powerful and difficult known Charm correctly on her own.
"Don't worry, Iris Potter." Luna said with a dreamy expression and an odd lilt in her voice - the same one she always had when seeing things other did not. "You should survive the process. Just remember to enjoy it, too." And with that alarming farewell, the strange Seer pushed her into the center of the room and nodded supportively. The rest of her friends retreated to the edges of the room, beyond the boundaries of the massive runic design meant to stabilize a single spell, and soon Luna followed them as well. With nothing more to delay her but trepidation, she lifted the Elder Wand in the air and cast.
The whirlwind of magical energies dissipated and Iris Potter collapsed upon the muddy pavement on the edge of an empty street at night. Bridging the gap of six times six years had felt like living through them all again, in reverse, half a dozen times. No wonder poor Eloise Mintumble had aged five centuries and perished after the shock of bridging a gap several times her own lifetime. It had been the primary reason of Hermione's insistence on not sending her back before the first war; if she traveled back to before her own birth, who knew what might happen.
Not that she felt much better now: her entire body felt as if she'd been beaten to within an inch of her life... then dropped onto the street from a high-altitude broom... then run over by a truck. In fact, said truck was still squeezing her to death. When pushing frantically against the enormous weight and trying to find the Elder Wand who'd slipped from her rand proved fruitless, she threw a wandless banishing charm... only to gasp as it was reflected straight back at her. Who in their right mind enchanted trucks with defensive magic?
It took another two minutes to overthrow the crushing weight through main force but by then her vision was dark at the edges and her limbs refused to move any further. The Elder Wand was only a foot or two away from her reach and she could do nothing to get it; she couldn't even focus enough for wandless levitation. It took another minute to realize the 'enormous weight' had been not a truck but her own trunk, and that her robes were several sizes too large for her; the shock from that sent her straight into unconsciousness...
The night of July 31st 1986 several Ministry officials lost their sleep as The Trace registered several massive bouts of apparently accidental magic in Godric's Hollow, West Country, England. Friday the 1st of August only lasted twenty hours, while Saturday the 2nd lasted thirty-seven. Living through them with no magical senses, the altered days failed to register in Muggle perception despite the countless dating errors they caused. Only a few powerful wizards and the rare magical creature with prophetic abilities recognized the magical effect as temporal backlash of major time-travel and nobody connected it to the sudden appearance of a single young witch in England. Accusations were thrown around in several emergency meetings of the International Confederation of Wizards but nothing came of them for many years...